Impact of expected climate change on mangroves
- Cite this article as:
- Field, C.D. Hydrobiologia (1995) 295: 75. doi:10.1007/BF00029113
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There is a consensus of scientific opinion that the activities of man will cause a significant change in the global climate over the next hundred years. The rising level of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases in the atmosphere may lead to global warming with an accompanying rise in sea-level. Mangrove ecosystems grow in the intertidal zones in tropical and sub-tropical regions and are likely to be early indicators of the effects of climate change. The best estimates of predicted climate change in the literature are presented. It is suggested that a rise in mean sea-level may be the most important factor influencing the future distribution of mangroves but that the effect will vary dramatically depending on the local rate of sea-level rise and the availability of sediment to support reestablishment of the mangroves. The predicted rise in mean air temperature will probably be of little consequence to the development of mangroves in general but it may mean that the presence of mangroves will move further north and south, though this will depend on a number of additional factors. The effect of enhanced atmospheric CO2 on the growth of mangroves is unknown at this time but that there is some evidence that not all species of mangroves will respond similarly. The socio-economic impacts of the effects of climate on mangrove ecosystems may include increased risk of flooding, increased erosion of coast lines, saline intrusion and increased storm surges.